Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields reported at tonight’s City Council meeting that despite some citizen reports on local websites, no significant anomalies in the water bills sent out in December has been found. “Nothing has indicated any problem,” he said, adding that there has also not been an unusual volume of calls from citizens questioning their bills.
However, he did announce that a phone line at City Hall dedicated to fielding questions about such matters has been opened up at (703) 248-5108. With the completion of the sale of the F.C. water system to Fairfax County on Jan. 3, Shields said, the City’s office to handle customer queries was closed and customers urged to call the county. However, because of customer concerns in the transition it was decided to reopen a local phone line.
Shields also said a final bill from Falls Church based on meter readings as of Jan. 3 will be sent out later this month. He said that December bills were for three months that included September, a very dry month that resulted in unusually high levels of water use.
The following is the full text of statement issued by the F.C. City Manager’s office tonight:
The City thanks its water customers for patience as we researched the potential issue with the most recent cycle of water bills. We have opened a customer service line for customers who would like to discuss their Falls Church water bill: 703-248-5108. (For immediate service issues like water main breaks, please contact Fairfax Water at 703-698-5800.) The representatives are available during business hours to discuss individual water bills. We ask that anyone who has concerns please call the customer service number, 703-248-5108.
The City has looked into overall consumption to see if there is anything unusual. Collectively, water consumption for the September/October/November quarter was higher (+ 3.4%) relative to the same period in 2012; this is not surprising, as we had a drier-than-normal Aug. and Sept. 2013 and a wetter-than-normal Sept. 2012.
Customer service has walked a number of customers through their bill on the phone, and the trend has been that either a) the consumption is normal, but their bill is larger than normal because they had a past due balance from a prior bill, b) they remember they actually did water the lawn quite a bit back in the early fall, or c) they find that they had a leaking toilet or faucet down in the basement of which they weren’t aware.
Regardless of the reason, customer service is happy to talk with customers and get to the bottom their concerns. Please call 703-248-5108 during business hours.